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Patrons enjoy afternoon drinks at WC’s South, which won Lincoln’s best dive bar competition in 2019. The bar is located at 2109 Nebraska 2.

Past story:

Chuck Cheever is planning a big party on Friday at WC’s South Sports Bar, one befitting of the newly crowned best dive bar in Lincoln.

“We want to show our appreciation to our regulars,” said Cheever, the owner of WC’s, which breezed through the 16-team bracket-style competition by knocking off three No. 1 seeds, including the Tack Room in the finals.

For the record, WC’s was seeded third in the four-team South region, which means it was considered — at least on paper — an underdog in every matchup. Forget those rankings. Those things are never right, they say — especially in this case.

WC’s was nobody’s underdog.

“We never thought we were a No. 3,” Cheever said.

Not that he is complaining now. Being a part of Ground Zero’s first-ever Dive Bar Challenge was a constant thrill, one that seemed to gain momentum each week and grew business in the bar, Cheever said.

“The word got around about us and there were a lot more people here with each week,” he said. “There was a lot of talk about it inside the bar. It gave everyone the chance to compare other bars around Lincoln, to talk about how we compare with bars like the Tack Room.

“There are a lot of great bars in Lincoln.”

And after limping out of the gate and falling behind Roca Tavern by double digits, WC’s proved itself worthy by rallying to win that match — and three others.

“This is quite a three-week run that we’ve been on,” Cheever said. “It’s been a lot of fun checking my phone to see the updated scores. We got a little nervous on Saturday afternoon and started making calls to people to get online and vote.

“Rally the vote, that’s what we’ve been doing the last couple of weeks.”

The final matchup with the Tack Room was never really that close. Cheever got a little antsy when WC’s early lead slipped to eight points. That’s hardly as close as the opening-round victory over Roca, when WC’s rallied the vote in the final hours to win by a handful of votes.

It responded with resounding victories over regional top seeds Grapevine Bar (South), Harry’s Wonder Bar (Downtown) and the Tack Room (Cornhusker).

After Friday’s celebration, which will include a special on pastrami sandwiches, he said, Cheever plans to begin looking for a way to defend WC’s crown next year. After all, the only thing harder than scaling the mountain is maintaining that perch from atop it.

But Cheever, not one to miss an opportunity to throw a jab, had one more question:

“Are you going to make us a No. 3 seed again next year?”

Touches.

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